We have been taking in the suet feeders at night because otherwise, I fill them in the afternoon and they are empty by morning. That gets expensive since, along with everything else, the price of birdseed has gone up — and suet even more. The simple solution is to bring the feeders in at night, at least the suet feeders. I left them out the other night because the suet was getting stale.

Five years ago they were little. Now, not so little.

It was after midnight yesterday. No one had remembered to bring in the suet feeders so I did what I usually do. I turned on the deck floodlights and went out to get the feeders. What I’d forgotten was that it was several hours later than I usually do this.

Sitting on the railing were three husky raccoons, bushy from winter and fixated on the suet. I’d filled the feeder only that aftenoon, but there were big holes in it. Raccoons have hands and for all practical purposes, thumbs too. They are intelligent and very clever at dismantling human stuff.

I am pretty sure these are the same “baby” raccoons of whom we got automated black and white pictures lthree years ago. In 2020, they were babies. The are not babies now. Each one was almost as big as Duke. They didn’t like being deprived of what they clearly had in mind for dinner. Or maybe just an appetizer.

Note. Pictures were all taken by an automatic camera with a meh lens.

Now, imagine these same raccoons about 3 times bigger

We faced off. One of them rather slowly took his leave, a long slow stroll down the railing. One had dropped behind the fence and looked like he was planning on leaving. But the last one was standing his ground. Meanwhile, the Duke who is a total weenie about getting medication or anything vet or grooming-related, wanted to take them on. All three.

C’mon baby, you can do it!

This was not a good idea. A 25-pound raccoon can gut a 45-pound dog. Long claws. Thick skin. Healthy fangs. I was trying to keep the Duke from exploding through the screen door and sharply rebuking him to stay IN the house. Duke was sure he could handle them. I thought that was a terrible idea.

Finally, the Duke contained, there I was, eyeballing a raccoon who didn’t want to leave. I could almost read his furry mind. “If I stay here, is she going to to run me off? That suet was so tasty…” He had a point. As much as I didn’t think the Duke should tangle with th\e furry banditos, I knew for 100% I would not win that battle.

Fortunately, he left. I love the outdoors, but I have a healthy respect for the creatures that live in it. Raccoons look friendly and often act friendly. They will take food from you. This doesn’t mean they are tame. All it means is they are hungry and as long as you are giving them food, you’re a friend. If you stop, not so much.

Categories: #Photography, Anecdote, Wildlife, #WildCreatures

Tags: , , ,

19 replies

  1. I’m so glad Duke STAYED his ground! I’m proud of him for not being a “weenie” (lol), but oh boy, it would’ve been a tragedy! When living in my RV I learned great respect for creatures~even fuzzy and cute ones are dangerous (and can carry disease!). I enjoy watching them from a safe distance and NOT eating my supplies, lol.


    • People think that if you can “feed” something wild, then it isn’t really wild. But they are wild — and if they feel threatened or cornered, they will fight back. Their natural weaponry is better than ours. I was glad the Duke listened to me. I think it was my tone of voice that carried a warning he isn’t used to hearing. When my kids were little and were in danger, that tone of voice showed up and unlike the rest of the time, they listened. I don’t think I could make myself sound like that unless there really IS danger.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You certainly got some cute photos out of the raid! Raccoons were my first love before squirrels, and that trio certainly looks endearing, from a safe distance…


    • Endearing, absolutely, but I’ve seen what a raccoon can do to a housecat and it wasn’t pretty. The problem is, our pets don’t recognize that these wild creatures have some serious weapons.

      I really like raccoons. They are smart, funny, and can make great pets where they are allowed. They are not allowed in this state, nor are any wild creatures unless too injured to live wild. On the other hand, the flying squirrels are SO friendly they almost ask you to adopt them — but they are also illegal and besides, I was pretty sure a flying squirrel in my house would be a bit … chaotic? Still, it was tempting. They sit and look at you with their huge dark eyes and don’t even try to escape. And oh my, they are SOOOO cute!


  3. I like raccoons, but, no, I don’t want to mess with one and I will keep my dogs far, far away from them, and my dogs are 75 lbs of pure muscle….


  4. wow! Racoons, cool! You sure wouldn’t wanna take one on though! Nope no way!


  5. Cute but nasty. They definitely kill cats 🐱


  6. I’ve been seeing ads recently for a bird feeder with an insert at the bottom that spins when weighted down — the squirrels (and raccoons) slide down the feeder onto a bar on the bottom and the whole thing spins until the animal falls off. Seems cruel, but it does get the food to the birds rather than the squirrels!


    • Despite all the ads, I have yet to find anything that keeps squirrels out, much less raccoons. We’ve had raccoons get so annoyed with our feeder that they take the entire thing with them into the woods. Two big feeders have disappeared and we never saw them again. Meanwhile, squirrels are surprisingy clever at figuring out a new way to get into the feeder. You can’t keep the squirrels out and keeping out raccoons? They’ll just take the feeder home for a family fiesta.


  7. Didn’t realize they could be so vicious if needed. The babies look so cute.


    • They CAN be tamed and make very entertaining pets, though they are so destructive most people keep them outside. Raccoons can open refrigerator doors, use can openers, and their claws are strong enough to cut open the top of a can. They aren’t vicious per se, but will fight if they feel cornered or threatened. I’ve met a few really big ones in Boston (they also live IN cities these days) who had attitude problems. They are serious trash raiders.

      When we lived on Beacon Hill, we had a tiny patio backyard which had been taken over by an absolutey HUGE raccoon. He had to be a solid 50 pounds and looked like a bear cub. I went into the back yard. He looked at me and hissed, then growled. I apologized and went back inside and never used the patio again.

      If they seem really vicious, they are probably sick. Around here, it’s likely rabies. We have quite an epidemic among the wild creatures.

      Liked by 1 person

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